By Megin Gauntlett, Insight Executive
Being part of the *multiply team at Posterscope, we are more than comfortable with data as valuable currency. We pride ourselves on using the best, proprietary approaches to data in order to understand consumers better. This understanding in turn enables us to deliver the most targeted messaging, in the right moment and in the right location.
But what is the viewpoint of the consumer? How much do they actually know about the capture and use of their data? And when put in the consumer’s shoes, would you still think that the scores, reams and mountains of data collected and cleaned regarding your life is interesting or invasive? We can sometimes think about consumers as though they are different and separate to us and we must be careful that we don’t create a practice of dehumanising data.
We wanted to go to the Science Museum’s current exhibition, Our Lives in Data, to see their approach to education around data’s usage and how children, in particular, are shaping their views in a personalised, but essentially trackable, life.
Our Lives in Data was made up of four different sections; transport and smart cities, the IoT, genomic and social. The first and last are areas in which Posterscope have a large amount of experience. We use transport data every day in our work as Location Experts, defining how audiences move around the city in order to better understand how to reach them in the most relevant ways. We regularly use social data in our planning tools to see what is resonating for consumers, how they feel about brands and lifestyles and what they are gravitating towards in terms of behaviours.
The exhibition was set up as a blend of static exhibitions and interactive experiences. In the transport section, there was a data visualisation of Bond St Station showcasing how new tube stations and transit hubs are designed using predictive consumer data – knowing how people move through the station and streets surrounding it to enable city planners to create better, frictionless travel. This was interesting given Posterscope’s new partnership with Digit Group in the smart cities space. Using data to understand a location better and predict behaviours from a design perspective is only a decade or so old. But now, with connected payments, mobile signal data and the like, we can make the city work harder for its inhabitants.
Moving through into the IoT section, we saw connected toys showcased with variant degrees of consumer uptake – we have all heard the story of the doll that learned to speak not so kid-friendly words. This section also featured a type of paint that could be used on routers to block Wi-Fi signal pickups from external users. Considering Wi-Fi signals is a key method of understanding a location’s footfall at present, this paint was a surprise to some in the group. The exhibition also discussed whether consumers have been educated enough on the options available to them in this area when it comes to privacy of signals themselves (regardless of the fact the data collected is not being used to see individual information).